Connect with us

GT World Challenge Europe

WRT Announces End of Audi Partnership After Current Season

Team WRT to end decorated partnership with Audi after 13 years…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

Team WRT has announced that its 13-year spell with Audi in GT racing will come to a close after this year, following multiple championship titles and major race wins.

The Belgian outfit announced on Tuesday morning that it will no longer run the German manufacturer’s cars after the current season, having done so since its inception in 2010.

In a statement, it added that it will “engage in a new chapter of its racing journey” that will see it continue in GT3 and the FIA World Endurance Championship.

It is understood, but not confirmed, that this is set to come with BMW which recently announced a WEC program for the second season of its LMDh program in 2024.

WRT and Audi have stood as one of GT racing’s strongest partnerships, winning several important races together including the 24 Hours of Spa, Nürburgring 24, Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Suzuka 10 Hours, Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai and FIA GT World Cup.

Their championship success included 30 teams’ and drivers’ titles in SRO Motorsports Group-run GT racing, across its various denominations in Endurance and Sprint.

WRT also previously worked with Audi in TCR and DTM, while in the last couple of years it has branched into LMP2 as part of its ambition to secure a program in the LMH/LMDh era.

The team led by Vincent Vosse, Yves and Pascal Weerts joined the LMP2 ranks full-time last year and won the WEC, European Le Mans Series and 24 Hours of Le Mans in a standout season.

Its agreement to work with Audi on a planned LMDh program was interrupted by the manufacturer’s decision to put the project on an indefinite pause five months ago.

It has continued to compete in GT3 since that mid-season development, and last weekend competed in the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa with two factory-backed entries and three wholly customer cars, one of which took a class victory in Silver Cup.

Vosse commented: “It is a very special and emotional moment for all of us at Team WRT and me personally, as we announce that a significant chapter of the history of our organization will soon come to an end and a new one will open.

“It couldn’t be otherwise as Audi has been the brand we have been associated with since the creation of Team WRT at the end of 2009 and our sole partner in GT3 racing.

“I remember vividly the mutual excitement of the first contacts, which were facilitated by the Belgian Audi Club and our friend J.G. Mal-Voy, who is always in our hearts.

“From there a fantastic journey took off. A fantastic one, not only because of the many successes but because of the outstanding cooperation and shared philosophy for excellence and innovation, always looking forward.

“Along the way, we have made so many good friends and shared and enjoyed so many bonds in all circumstances, good and less good.

“There are so many people that we would like to thank that it is impossible to do it here. By naming Dr. Wolgang Ullrich, Werner Frowein, Dieter Gass, Rolf Michl, or also Romolo Liebchen, Chris Reinke, or Siegfried Krause, we really want to extend our appreciation and gratitude to all people involved in the common programs over those thirteen years.

“All things in life have a beginning and an end and our paths will now separate but the longstanding friendships will last.

“We all can have a sense of pride looking at what was accomplished together and we’ll all treasure the many good memories of this great period.”

Audi Thanks WRT for Last 13 Years

Following WRT’s announcement, Audi Sport issued a statement thanking the team for their long association.

The manufacturer described WRT as a “global ambassador” for Audi courtesy of its various international race wins and hailed the partnership as “one of the most successful stories in modern GT racing”.

Audi Sport head of customer racing Chris Reinke commented: “After 13 fantastic years, we will be going our separate ways from 2023 but we will continue to have friendly ties.

“The close relationship with Vincent Vosse as well as with Yves and Pascal Weerts is characterized by deep trust, shared sporting values and an absolute drive for success.

“A big thank you to them and their entire team, combined with best wishes for the future.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

Click to comment

More in GT World Challenge Europe